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  • Science Stats

    Earth’s dry zones support a surprising number of trees

    Earth’s dry regions have more trees than once thought — a hopeful note in the fight against climate change.

    An analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery reveals that drylands globally have 40 to 47 percent more tree cover (an extra 467 million hectares) than reported in earlier estimates. An international team of researchers used Google Earth and Collect Earth, a program developed by...

    06/26/2017 - 07:00 Ecology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Every breath you take contains a molecule of history

    Caesar’s Last BreathSam KeanLittle, Brown and Co., $28

    Julius Caesar could have stayed home on March 15, 44 B.C. But mocking the soothsayer who had predicted his death, the emperor rode in his litter to Rome’s Forum. There he met the iron daggers of 60 senators.

    As he lay in a pool of blood, he may have gasped a final incrimination to his protégé Brutus: You too, my son? Or maybe...

    06/25/2017 - 07:00 Chemistry, Earth, History of Science
  • Introducing

    This glass frog wears its heart for all to see

    A newly discovered glass frog from Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands is giving researchers a window into its heart.

    Hyalinobatrachium yaku has a belly so transparent that the heart, kidneys and urine bladder are clearly visible, an international team of researchers reports May 12 in ZooKeys. Researchers identified H. yaku as a new species using field observations, recordings of its distinct call...

    06/23/2017 - 07:00 Animals
  • News

    Scientists spy on the secret inner life of bacteria

    View slideshow

    On the surface, bacteria may appear bland. But there’s more going on inside than meets the eye, new research is revealing.

    For many years, scientists thought that bacteria didn’t have internal structures and were basically “bags of enzymes,” says structural and cell biologist Martin Warren of the University of Kent in England.

    Now, one group of researchers has...

    06/22/2017 - 14:00 Microbiology
  • News

    Bones make hormones that communicate with the brain and other organs

    Long typecast as the strong silent type, bones are speaking up.

    In addition to providing structural support, the skeleton is a versatile conversationalist. Bones make hormones that chat with other organs and tissues, including the brain, kidneys and pancreas, experiments in mice have shown.

    “The bone, which was considered a dead organ, has really become a gland almost,” says Beate...

    06/21/2017 - 15:00 Health, Biomedicine, Cells
  • News

    Kepler shows small exoplanets are either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes

    Small worlds come in two flavors. The complete dataset from the original mission of the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope reveals a split in the exoplanet family tree, setting super-Earths apart from mini-Neptunes.

    Kepler's final exoplanet catalog, released in a news conference June 19, now consists of 4,034 exoplanet candidates. Of those, 49  are rocky worlds in their stars'...

    06/19/2017 - 18:39 Exoplanets, Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    New fossils shake up history of amphibians with no legs

    Newly named fossils suggest that a weird and varied chapter in amphibian deep history isn’t totally over.

    Small fossils about 220 million years old found along steep red slopes in Colorado represent a near-relative of modern animals called caecilians, says vertebrate paleontologist Adam Huttenlocker of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

    Caecilians today have long...

    06/19/2017 - 15:30 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Eclipse watchers catch part of the sun’s surface fleeing to space

    View the video

    For the first time, researchers have watched relatively cool parcels of plasma speed away from the surface of the sun and off into space, all the while cocooned in a million-degree flare.

    Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and colleagues used a specially designed spectrometer to observe the eruption from Svalbard, Norway, during the March 2015...

    06/16/2017 - 14:57 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Science Visualized

    See the latest stunning views of Jupiter

    Once every 53 days, Jupiter pulls Juno close. Locked in orbit since July 2016, the spacecraft has made five close flybys of the planet so far. More than 1,300 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, but Juno takes only two hours to zip from pole to pole. That mad, north-to-south trek is shown below in a sequence of 14 enhanced-color images taken May 19.

    Each image’s width corresponds to the...

    06/16/2017 - 09:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    Ancient attack marks show ocean predators got scarier

    In pumped-up sequels for scary beach movies, each predator is bigger than the last. Turns out that predators in real-world oceans may have upsized over time, too.

    Attack holes in nearly 7,000 fossil shells suggest that drilling predators have outpaced their prey in evolving ever larger bodies and weapons, says paleontologist Adiël Klompmaker of the University of California, Berkeley. The...

    06/15/2017 - 16:12 Paleontology, Evolution